Boliyan

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Boliyan or Bolis are couplets that are sung in Punjab.

A Boli expresses typical situations and their emotions. Usually a boli is sung and introduced by one woman, and then other girls form a chorus.

These boliyan are usually passed down generation by generation orally. This forms a continuous and successive chain, each generation being taught by its predecessor. It is through this process that boliyan have been refined and passed on from long ago.

Now, boliyan have been fused with Bhangra music to spread all over the world to North America and Great Britain, as well as to Australia and New Zealand; and are mixed with all the cultures they interact with. This has created a modern, urban style bhangra genre that is listened to by more than just North Indians.

Artists such as RDB have fused the urban style of the United Kingdoms hip-hop music with traditional Punjabi beats and lyrics which model the new bhangra genre described above.

Although women mainly sing boliyan, men also do. Kulwinder Dhillon's career was launched by his smash hit song Boliyan.[1]

"Jaago", the night before the wedding, the awakening night, is when all of the family join together and sing boliyan, to celebrate the joyous occasion. The first boli to be sung on the Jaago Night is Jaago Aiya- which translates into the following:

Jatta Jaag Vey. - All you Jatts Wake Up
Hun Jaago Aiya. - For the Jaago has come
Shava vey hun Jaago Aiya. - Wow, just look; the Jaago has come.
Lori de ke paiya
uth pau gi
addiyan karu gi
chukni pau gi
Jaago aaiya
Jatta Jaag Vey
Hun Jaago Aiya"

Although commonly women do giddha and sing boliyan, in the Malwa region, in lower Punjab, men sing the boliyan. They also do Bhangra dances to accompany the Boliyan (see Malwai Giddha).

Boliyan were started by the Punjabi ancestors. Their women would sing boliyan to express their emotions and feeling, or just for fun. Nowadays they have become even more popular, as they mark one's heritage.

To give boliyan more depth and strength, the vibrant colours of the girls' dyed salwar kameezs brighten up the surroundings. The brighter the dresses the more visible the dancers.

The folk dances have boliyan as their composition. It is these boliyan that enliven the mood of the dancers

Boliyan are traditional, but time has made changes in them too. They are not only composed by professionals, but even farmers contribute to them. They have a uniform rhythm, and often their appeal is enhanced by a meaningless rhyme being added to them. Almost all folk dances are performed in circles. Whilst dancing the giddha, the women sing in sonorous voices, to the accompaniment of the dholak (drum), ghadda (pots) or to the beat of clapping. The leader (woman) of the chorus sings the boli, which the chorus repeats. The ghadda is played by gently striking a ring or a small stone on it in keeping with the rhythm. It helps to build an atmosphere of gaiety.

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